Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. In fact, mesothelioma is one of the most significant risks of asbestos exposure.
Many professions exposed workers to asbestos, including construction, demolition, and brake repair. If you worked in these professions, you should be screened for mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer. But mesothelioma is not lung cancer. In fact, mesothelioma is distinguishable from lung cancer in several ways. Here are four differences between mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos fibers. The body cannot break down asbestos fibers, so they persist in the body. Eventually, tiny tumors form around the fibers.
Most cases of mesothelioma could have been prevented by asbestos manufacturers. A mesothelioma attorney represents victims of asbestos exposure to claim damages from asbestos trust funds created by asbestos manufacturers.
Lung cancer can have many causes, including asbestos exposure. But the majority of lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco smoke. Exposure to pollutants, such as smoke and smog can also cause lung cancer.
The carcinogen enters the lung tissue and damages lung cells. Over time, the damage accumulates and causes the lung cells to mutate. These mutated cells grow abnormally and develop into a lung cancer tumor.
Mesothelioma fibers lodge in the tissue that lines your internal organs called the mesothelium. The tumors develop here and expand along this lining. Fibers can also lodge in the lining around the heart, abdomen, and testes.
Lung cancer begins in cells lining the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. These cells are inside the lungs and the tumors grow here before spreading elsewhere in the body.
Mesothelioma begins as small tumors that grow together into a large mass. In most cases, the tumors remain localized until the tumor covers a large portion of the mesothelium in stage I and II. In stage III, cancerous cells spread to lymph nodes or the tissue between the lungs. In stage IV, the cancerous cells spread to other parts of the body or the chest wall.
Lung cancer usually begins with a single tumor that grows in stages I and II. Since the lungs contain lymph vessels, the cancerous cells pass readily to the lymph nodes in stage III. In stage IV, the cancerous cells travel through the lymphatic system to reach other parts of the body.
Although every case is unique, mesothelioma usually grows locally for longer than lung cancer. Lung cancer often spreads quickly since the lungs interconnect with so many other organs and systems.
This difference in growth does not mean that mesothelioma is easier to treat. Rather, mesothelioma is often more difficult to treat than lung cancer because mesothelioma is usually discovered after the tiny tumors have grown together into a large mass. This makes surgical treatment difficult. This leaves radiation treatment and chemotherapy as the only options for treating mesothelioma before it spreads to the lymph nodes or other organs. These differences mean that people who have been exposed to asbestos have much different outcomes from their disease.